Ask a Question forum: Scarlet Star Bromeliad questions

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Name: Amber
NY (Zone 6a)
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anmiller86
May 6, 2015 8:46 AM CST
I bought one of these at Lowes a few weeks ago, but the leaves are looking a bit brown at the edges and there is some blue-ish mold. I think I am watering it incorrectly, which I will cease.

First question:

I bought it in bloom and there is a pup. The flower hasn't started to die yet, however. The pup looks good except the little brown on the leaves. Should I switch from traditional watering to misting the leaves and flower? And should I pour a little water in the center of the flower? I read it a couple places but want to be sure.

Also, I just watered it traditionally before I read that it seems to prefer misting and putting water in the flower center. Should I wait a few days before misting and putting water in the flower center?

Lastly, when the Mother plant dies (I'm not sure how long that will take to be honest) what should I do? Wait for it to die off and then pinch the dead parts off?

I'm such a newb, I know. Pictures of my bromeliad here.

Top view. Inside the flower in the white center...is that where I should give a little water?
Thumb of 2015-05-06/anmiller86/7fbc3e

Pup.
Thumb of 2015-05-06/anmiller86/20350a

Is this potentially another pup growing in the leaf? Also note the browning of the leaves. :(
Thumb of 2015-05-06/anmiller86/bf2f1d

Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
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plantladylin
May 6, 2015 11:32 AM CST
Hi Amber, what a lovely Scarlet Star (Guzmania lingulata) I wonder if perhaps the browning of the leaves is due to a bit too much water? My eyes aren't the best but the soil looks to be fairly wet. Guzmania like high humidity and moist (but not soggy) soil and good air circulation. I know it's hard sometimes to find a proper balance, especially when growing indoors. Keep about an inch of water in the rosette/cup but be sure to empty it each week and replace with fresh water to keep it from becoming stagnant. The Scarlet Star usually lives five or six years but thank goodness they produce pups! The pups can be removed and potted up separately when they are about 3 to 4 inches in height. Plant them in a well draining potting medium and keep the soil damp.

The new growth you see emerging between the leaves may very well be another bloom stalk.
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Name: Amber
NY (Zone 6a)
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anmiller86
May 6, 2015 2:49 PM CST
plantladylin said:Hi Amber, what a lovely Scarlet Star (Guzmania lingulata) I wonder if perhaps the browning of the leaves is due to a bit too much water? My eyes aren't the best but the soil looks to be fairly wet. Guzmania like high humidity and moist (but not soggy) soil and good air circulation. I know it's hard sometimes to find a proper balance, especially when growing indoors. Keep about an inch of water in the rosette/cup but be sure to empty it each week and replace with fresh water to keep it from becoming stagnant. The Scarlet Star usually lives five or six years but thank goodness they produce pups! The pups can be removed and potted up separately when they are about 3 to 4 inches in height. Plant them in a well draining potting medium and keep the soil damp.

The new growth you see emerging between the leaves may very well be another bloom stalk.


I do think that I've been watering it too much. I'm going to let the soil dry and just mist the leaves and check on the cup (which I just put water in) for a while until the soil is much less wet and soggy. My pup is tiny and cute, only about an inch for now so I think I've got a while for it to grow. I think I read that bromeliads are slow-growing. I am nervous to remove the pups but I have time to research to ensure I do it correctly.
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
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dyzzypyxxy
May 6, 2015 9:20 PM CST
Amber, I agree with Lin's good advice but in addition I also think you should mist your brom with a spray bottle instead of watering the soil.

Bromeliads are epiphytes and gather most of their nutrients and moisture from the air. Their roots mainly just serve to hold the plant upright so it can collect stuff effectively. So, strange though it may sound, those brown leaves might be because you weren't watering the leaves. In nature, they grow in places with high humidity, attached to dead tree branches on the ground and also on living tree branches, so they collect dirt and stuff that falls from the trees as fertilizer. Mine are all out in the garden under the oak trees, but I do occasionally walk by them with the orchid fertilizer sprayer, and give them a spray.

When it comes to separating the pups from mama, you will know when to do it, and it's not difficult. Mama will look more and more raggedy but she will keep feeding the pups, and making more for a while yet. Some people cut them off but I've always been able to just pull them apart from the mother plant. Don't worry if there are few or no roots. Just set the pups on some loos soil, and keep them misted.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Amber
NY (Zone 6a)
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anmiller86
May 7, 2015 1:49 PM CST
Thank you for the advice! I know the humidity here in upstate NY isn't so bad so I stopped watering the soil and have only filled the flower's cup and misted the leaves today and yesterday since posting. One mist a day should be plenty, you think?

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